Making Grilled Pizza: A New Twist on a Family Favorite
My fondest memories of eating pizza are from childhood. In my family, we always ate pizza and played board games on Friday night; it was our tradition. I vividly remember Friday nights; my father came home from work and walked through our front door with two fresh pies from a local pizza shop in North Jersey. Not to brag, but Northern New Jersey and New York City, are home to some of what I think is the best pizza in the country. This is because these two regions are home to many Italian-Americans, who bring their love of homemade pizza and recipes for an incredible red sauce to their local establishments.
Pizza actually made its first appearance in the United States with the arrival of Italian immigrants in the late 19th century and was extremely popular among large Italian populations in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and even Saint Louis. Since then, pizza has evolved all over the country, with each region making its own variation on the traditional pizza pie.
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Making my own pizza often reminds me of eating together with my siblings and parents and fighting over who gets to eat the last delicious slice. Pizza is also very symbolic. The round shape of the pizza pie is inviting and represents something social. It is a time where friends or family sit down together and share great conversation. Somehow, eating and sharing pizza never seems to get old because it is such a versatile food that can be prepared in so many different ways.
Recently, I started to experiment with grilled pizza. Grilled pizza is created by taking yeasted pizza dough and placing it directly over the fire of a grill and then turning it over once the bottom has baked. Once grill marks are visible on both sides, toppings are added in thin layers to make certain that they heat through. Heavier toppings such as sausage may be pre-cooked before placing on the pizza. Other ingredients such as olive oil, garlic and herbs like basil offer a wonderful flavor that will maximize the taste of your pizza.
Grilling pizza is wonderful during the spring, summer and even early fall months. It makes for a great appetizer especially when you are hosting a party or social event. Follow the recipe below for my version of grilled pizza, but just remember you can be creative with your own toppings.